Book Review written by Dick Donnenwirth
Four Things Women Want From A Man
By A. R. Bernard
When the wife of an older client couple recommended I read this book, I knew nothing about the author. A.R. Bernard turns out to be the well-respected pastor of a 37,000 member church on a 11 ½ acre property in Brooklyn, New York. Before his 37 years there, he was born in Panama of an Olympic level sprinter mother who relocated to Brooklyn when he was 4. He grew up without a father, was “fully engaged” in the Nation of Islam for 5 years, and was converted to Christianity by Nicky Cruz. He and his high school sweetheart, Karen, gave their lives to the “person” of Jesus Christ and are in a 43 year dedicated marriage. He writes this book out of his experiences of parish-based counseling of men, women and couples over many decades.
This is a very readable book, for men and women with exercises and prayers for each at the conclusion of each chapter. By the way, the four “things” are 1) maturity, 2) decisiveness, 3) consistency and 4) strength. Great truths are presented through-out. For example, “Forgiveness works best when not called for too frequently.” And “we show our true values by our personal datebook and checkbook.” Biblical quotes and semi-anonymous personal quotes from women abound.
I have two basic concerns. Pastor Bernard literally interprets the Adam and Eve story averring that God created man first and woman second with her primary purpose to be man’s “helpmate.” But then he writes that the same 4 things women want in a man are the same 4 things that God wants in a man. This, I contend, puts women in a double-bind. First, they are subservient and in a secondary role. But then they are aligned with God in their desires for a man’s character. And, of course, there is no room for modern genetic research findings about the complexity of gender identification.
The second concern is what I call the over-simplification of what women want. My 50 years of pastoral counseling experience suggests most women want 1) maturity without losing the ability of spontaneous playfulness; 2) decisiveness – after careful consideration of alternatives and consequences; 3) consistency but not totally squelching spontaneity; and 4) emotional strength but still maintaining the ability to be vulnerable.
Still this is a thoughtfully written and informative piece. Oh, and what do men want from women. That’s for another book.
Bernard, A.R. Four Things Women Want From A Man
Nashville, Tennessee: Howard Books, 2016
(The opinions expressed above are solely the reviewer’s and not necessarily shared by other PPI counselors or the PPI Board Members.)